Saturday, November 26, 2016

COLUMN- Why Michigan screwed Michigan

Bad calls happen in the game of football.

Heck, in life, nothing is fair and for the Michigan Wolverines, the three-course meal was served on a silver platter to them, courtesy of the Ohio State Buckeyes in the 112th edition of The Game on Saturday.

One of the few things humans can control are the actions made with each passing second.

Michigan happened to let authority of the game slip away with two critical mistakes.

In full control of all three phases of the game and ahead 3-0 with 4:10 in the first half, Michigan quarterback Wilton Speight went into a playaction formation and once he slipped out of the fake handoff, panic set in and OSU defensive end Raekwon McMillan stalked the target at hand and forced a horrendous pass as Malik Hooker would be the recipient and score from 16 yards out.

Michigan found itself back in a familiar role for 11 of the previous 12 years— playing second fiddle to Ohio State in a 7-3 deficit.

Tight end Khalid Hill's one-yard touchdown run provided Michigan with a three-point cushion at the half. However, with nice things, sometimes people don't know how to handle the opportunity.

After a Jabrill Peppers interception on Ohio State's first drive of the second half, Michigan looked to be in prime position to score once more. 36 inches away from gold, Speight and center Mason Cole failed to deliver a quarterback/center exchange as Ohio State's Davon Hamilton recovered the ball.

Despite Ohio State not being able to seize the opportunity, the vibe began to change as hope began to sway. Even with Michigan up 17-7 in the third quarter, the vibe at Ohio Stadium changed.

Ohio State answered with the next 10 points as the game would go into overtime at 17-17.

After both teams exchanged touchdowns in the first stanza, Michigan's Kenny Allen converted a 37-yard field goal to go ahead 27-24.

Ohio State responded with a play that will be remembered for years as J.T. Barrett appeared to have been stopped on 4th down by inches, but officials called the play a fist down. Due to lack of indisputable evidence on the instant replay the call stood.

The rest would be academic as OSU running back Curtis Samuel found a crease on the left portion of the field and went 15 yards for the walk-off touchdown in double overtime.

Despite the controversial call on fourth down, Michigan controlled most of the game, but made two critical errors, which led to the game coming down to the hands of the referees. 

With Ohio State's increasing dominance in the series at 12-1 in the last 13 meetings, Michigan's likely destination could be the Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 2 against Washington, Colorado or USC.

For a program stuck in the lowest of lows with Dave Brandon/Brady Hoke disaster of 2014, Michigan should be happy to be in any discussion for a major New Year's bowl game.

While the end result did not work out, fans and players must be reminded that one mistake can come back and haunt you down the line.

As Alec Baldwin once said, "Always be closing".

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Follow Geno Green on Twitter @TheGenoGreen.